Red Right 88 was the Cleveland Browns passing play that was called during the January 4, 1981 American Football Conference divisional playoff game against the Oakland Raiders; in the years since, the term has been used to refer to the game itself and its ending.
|Red Right 88|
Cleveland Stadium, the site of the game.
|Date||January 4, 1981|
|Stadium||Cleveland Stadium, Cleveland, Ohio|
|TV in the United States|
|Announcers||Don Criqui and John Brodie|
With the game-time temperature at 4 °F (−16 °C), the coldest NFL game since the Ice Bowl of December 31, 1967, the first quarter contained nothing but punts and interceptions, with Cleveland's Ron Bolton and Oakland's Lester Hayes each recording a pick. Near the end of the quarter, Browns' quarterback Brian Sipe's 20-yard completion to Reggie Rucker sparked a drive inside the Raiders 30-yard line, but it ended with no points early in the second quarter when Don Cockroft missed a field goal attempt from 47 yards. On Oakland's ensuing drive, quarterback Jim Plunkett lost a fumble while being sacked, but their defense kept the Browns in check and Cockroft missed another field goal try, this one from 30 yards out.
Finally with 6:02 left in the second quarter, Bolton scored the first points of the day by recording his second interception from Plunkett and returning it 42 yards to the end zone. However, Cockroft's ensuing extra point was blocked by Ted Hendricks. After an exchange of punts, Oakland managed to get on the board, with Plunkett completing passes to Bob Chandler and Raymond Chester for gains of 15 and 26 yards on a 64-yard scoring drive. Mark van Eeghen finished it off with a 1-yard touchdown run with 18 seconds left in the half, making the score 7–6.
On Cleveland's opening drive of the second half, a 28-yard kickoff return to the 40-yard line by Charles White started off a 48-yard drive that ended with Cockroft's 30-yard field goal, retaking the lead for the Browns, 9–7. Then after forcing a punt, Cleveland drove to the Raiders 24-yard line, but on a field goal attempt, holder Paul McDonald was unable to handle a bad snap and was downed for an 11-yard loss. Starting out their next drive on the Raiders 44 after a punt, Cleveland drove to the 9, featuring a 21-yard reception by Dave Logan to score on another 30-yard field goal from Cockroft, making the score 12–7 going into the fourth quarter.
Early in the final period, the Raiders took a 14–12 lead at the end of an 80-yard drive highlighted by Chester's 27-yard catch. On the last play, van Eeghen scored his second 1-yard touchdown run of the day. Later on, the Raiders had a chance to put the game away when they recovered a fumble from Sipe on the Browns 24-yard line with 4:19 left in the game. But after moving to a 3rd and 1 situation on the 15, van Eeghen was stuffed for no gain on two consecutive plays, and Cleveland got the ball on downs. On the second play of the ensuing drive, Sipe completed a 29-yard pass to tight end Ozzie Newsome, and then a 23-yarder to Greg Pruitt four plays later. Then Mike Pruitt ran the ball 14 yards to the Raiders 14-yard line. Pruitt gained another yard on the next play, and the team called a timeout from the 13 with 49 seconds left.
Trailing 14-12 with less than a minute remaining in the game, the Browns had the ball on the Raiders 13-yard line and were in position for a potential game-winning field goal. Browns quarterback Brian Sipe conferred with head coach Sam Rutigliano, who called a pass play, "Red Slot Right, Halfback Stay, 88," and instructed Sipe to "throw it into Lake Erie" (throwing the ball out of play as it was only 2nd down), if the play was anything less than wide open. On the ensuing play, Sipe chose to force a pass to tight end Ozzie Newsome. However, the pass was intercepted in the end zone by Raiders safety Mike Davis, who had cut in front of Newsome's square-in pass route, putting an end to the Browns' season. Oakland subsequently advanced to the AFC conference championship, where they defeated the San Diego Chargers and went on to win Super Bowl XV over the Philadelphia Eagles.
The logic behind trying for the touchdown was that Browns kicker Don Cockroft had previously missed two field goal attempts, had one extra point attempt blocked, and had another aborted following a bad snap. In addition, the weather was brutally cold and windy. "What many people don't know about that situation is that I was a long way from being 100 percent physically in 1980," Cockroft said in a 2006 interview. "I had two herniated discs and needed four epidurals to just get through the season. I probably should have gone on IR." Cockroft was released by the Browns at the end of their 1981 training camp and retired soon after.
Had the play been executed properly, it would have presumably resulted in a touchdown. The primary receiver, Dave Logan, was crossing left-to-right, had a step on his defender and was open at the six-yard line. Sipe misread the defensive back's movements and thought Logan was covered so he went to the secondary receiver and threw in traffic where it was intercepted. Furthermore, Cleveland's drive had occurred right after the Raiders themselves had blown a chance at a short field goal attempt, moving the ball to a 3rd and 1 situation on the Browns 15-yard line only to lose it by being stuffed for no gain on consecutive running plays.
The play call itself has since become an infamous part of Cleveland sports lore, ranking with The Drive, The Fumble, The Catch, Off Nagy's Glove, The Shot, The Decision, and The Move as a bad memory that symbolizes the 52-year professional championship drought that had plagued the city, until the Cleveland Cavaliers won the 2016 NBA Finals.
The 1980 Cleveland Browns season was the team's 35th overall, and 31st season in the National Football League. The Browns finished the regular season with eleven wins and five losses, and their first division title in since 1971, winning a tiebreaker with the Houston Oilers.
The 1980 Cleveland Browns were known as the Kardiac Kids for having several games decided in the final moments. The 1980 season was the first time that Cleveland had qualified for the postseason since 1972. Also, for the second straight year, Browns head coach Sam Rutigliano was named NFL Coach of the Year, and quarterback Brian Sipe was named the league's Most Valuable Player.
Rallying from a 10–0 first-half deficit against Cincinnati, the Browns came back to beat the Bengals 27–24 to finally snare the Central championship by having Don Cockroft kicked the game-winning 22-yard field goal with 1:25 left, then the Bengals tried to come back when got as far as the Cleveland 14 before time ran out.
The Browns played their first home playoff game in nine seasons against the Raiders, in what has become known as the Red Right 88 game. The Browns marched to the Oakland 13 in the waning seconds trailing by 14–12, but Brian Sipe's pass into the end zone for Hall of Fame tight end Ozzie Newsome was intercepted, ending Cleveland's season.
Five Players had 50 or more receptions, led by running back Mike Pruitt. Pruitt also rushed for 1,034 yards and six touchdowns. Running back Calvin Hill, recorded six touchdowns among his 27 catches. Wide receiver Ricky Feacher grabbed just 10 passes, but four went for scores, including two within a matter of minutes in the division-clinching win over the Bengals.1981 Cleveland Browns season
The 1981 Cleveland Browns season was the team's 32nd season with the National Football League.
In a highly disappointing season filled with a number of key injuries at different stretches during the campaign, the Browns finished the year with five straight defeats, their longest losing streak since 1975, and dropped seven of their final eight games. By contrast, in 1980, the Browns enjoyed a five-game winning streak, their longest since 1976, and won eight of nine during one stretch.AFC North
The American Football Conference – Northern Division or AFC North is one of the four divisions of the American Football Conference (AFC) in the National Football League (NFL). The division was adopted after the restructuring of the 2002 NFL season, when the league realigned divisions after expanding to 32 teams.Brian Sipe
Brian Winfield Sipe (born August 8, 1949) is a former professional American football quarterback who played for the Cleveland Browns of the National Football League (NFL) from 1974 to 1983. He then played in the United States Football League for two seasons.
Although mostly sidelined for the first several years of his NFL career, Sipe was eventually recognized as one of the better quarterbacks in Browns history, winning the league's MVP Award in 1980. He was a college football star under head coach Don Coryell at San Diego State University, where he studied architecture and became the team's quarterbacks coach in 2009, remaining in that role for five years, through 2014. He also competed in the 1961 Little League World Series for El Cajon, California, and prepped at Grossmont High School.Bulls–Cavaliers rivalry
The Bulls–Cavaliers rivalry is a National Basketball Association (NBA) rivalry between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Chicago Bulls. The teams have played each other since the Cavaliers joined the NBA as an expansion team in 1970, but the rivalry didn't begin in earnest until the Bulls drafted Michael Jordan with the third overall pick in 1984. After Jordan would go on to the Washington Wizards and eventually retire, the rivalry died down, but when Cleveland picked LeBron James with the first selection in 2003, the rivalry heated up again. However, the Cavaliers had an edge on the Bulls, who would pick Derrick Rose with the first selection in 2008 to turn Chicago from a lottery team, to a future contender.Clay Matthews Jr.
William Clay Matthews Jr. (born March 15, 1956) is a former American football linebacker who played for the Cleveland Browns and the Atlanta Falcons of the National Football League (NFL). He was the first round draft pick of the Browns and played in 278 games over 19 NFL seasons, the 17th most appearances in league history (and most playing linebacker). Matthews had 1,561 tackles in his career, the third most in NFL history.He is the father of Clay Matthews III, an All-Pro linebacker for the Los Angeles Rams, and brother of Hall of Fame offensive lineman Bruce Matthews.Cleveland Stadium
Cleveland Stadium, commonly known as Municipal Stadium or Lakefront Stadium, was a multi-purpose stadium located in Cleveland, Ohio. It was one of the early multi-purpose stadiums, built to accommodate both baseball and football. The stadium opened in 1931 and is best known as the long-time home of the Cleveland Indians of Major League Baseball, from 1932 to 1993, and the Cleveland Browns of the National Football League (NFL), from 1946 to 1995, in addition to hosting other teams, sports, and being a regular concert venue. The stadium was a four-time host of the Major League Baseball All-Star Game, one of the host venues of the 1948 and 1954 World Series, and the site of the original Dawg Pound, Red Right 88, and The Drive.
Through most of its tenure as a baseball facility, the stadium was the largest in Major League Baseball by seating capacity, seating over 78,000 initially and over 74,000 in its final years. It was superseded only by the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum from 1958 to 1961, while it was the temporary home of the Los Angeles Dodgers, and by Mile High Stadium in 1993, the temporary home of the expansion Colorado Rockies. For football, the stadium seated approximately 80,000 people, ranking as one of the larger seating capacities in the NFL.
Former Browns owner Art Modell took over control of the stadium from the city in the 1970s and while his organization made improvements to the facility, it continued to decline. The Indians played their final game at the stadium in October 1993 and moved to Jacobs Field the following season. Although plans were announced to renovate the stadium for use by the Browns, in 1995 Modell announced his intentions to move the team to Baltimore citing the state of Cleveland Stadium as a major factor. The Browns played their final game at the stadium in December 1995. As part of an agreement between Modell, the city of Cleveland, and the NFL, the Browns were officially deactivated for three seasons and the city was required to construct a new stadium on the Cleveland Stadium site. Cleveland Stadium was demolished in 1996 to make way for FirstEnergy Stadium, which opened in 1999. Much of the debris from the demolition was placed in Lake Erie to create an artificial reef.Don Cockroft
Donald Lee Cockroft (born February 6, 1945) is a former American football punter and placekicker who played thirteen seasons in the National Football League with the Cleveland Browns. He has the third most career points for a Brown behind fellow kickers Phil Dawson (second) and Lou Groza.
Cockroft served as the Browns' primary punter and placekicker for the first nine seasons of his career. In 1977, he dropped punting from his duties and became solely a placekicker. He and Tampa Bay Buccaneers kicker/punter Dave Green were two of the last NFL players to lead their teams in both punting and kicking in the same season (1976).
He was involved in the January 4, 1981, American Football Conference divisional play-off game versus the Oakland Raiders. Cockroft missed field goals from 47 and 30-yards in the second quarter. The Browns scored a touchdown on a 42-yard interception by Ron Bolton with 6:02 left in the second quarter, but the extra point attempt by Cockroft was blocked. Cleveland would lose the game 14-12, a game which is nicknamed, Red Right 88.
Later NFL players to have this dual distinction were Steve Little of the St. Louis Cardinals in 1979, Russell Erxleben of the New Orleans Saints briefly in 1979 and 1980, and Frank Corral for the Los Angeles Rams in 1980 and 1981.Don Criqui
Don Criqui (born May 5, 1940) is an American television sportscaster.
He holds the record for longest-tenured broadcaster of one sports league in U.S. TV history, calling NFL football for 47 seasons (1967-2013) on NBC and CBS. Criqui's final NFL broadcast came on December 8, 2013, when he filled in for Bill Macatee as he was having traveling issues in a snow storm in Dallas, calling the 27-26 New England Patriots victory over the Cleveland Browns.Criqui's most recent network assignment was CBS Sports from 1998 until 2013, where he called the NFL, women's and men's college basketball and college football. From 1995 to 2012, he was the voice of New England Patriots pre-season football with Randy Cross.
From 2006 until 2017, Criqui served as the football radio play-by-play voice for Notre Dame, his alma mater.Gene Upshaw
Eugene Josiah Upshaw Jr. (August 15, 1945 – August 20, 2008), also known as "Uptown Gene" and “Highway 63”, was an American football player for the Oakland Raiders of the American Football League (AFL) and later the National Football League (NFL). He later served as the executive director of the National Football League Players' Association (NFLPA). In 1987, he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He is also the only player in NFL history to reach the Super Bowl in three different decades with the same team.History of the Cleveland Browns
The history of the Cleveland Browns American football team began in 1944 when taxi-cab magnate Arthur B. "Mickey" McBride secured a Cleveland, Ohio franchise in the newly formed All-America Football Conference (AAFC). Paul Brown, who coach Bill Walsh once called the "father of modern football", was the team's namesake and first coach. From the beginning of play in 1946 at Cleveland Municipal Stadium, the Browns were a great success. Cleveland won each of the AAFC's four championship games before the league dissolved in 1949. The team then moved to the more established National Football League (NFL), where it continued to dominate. Between 1950 and 1955, Cleveland reached the NFL championship game every year, winning three times.
McBride and his partners sold the team to a group of Cleveland businessmen in 1953 for a then-unheard-of $600,000. Eight years later, the team was sold again, this time to a group led by New York advertising executive Art Modell. Modell fired Brown before the 1963 season, but the team continued to win behind running back Jim Brown. The Browns won the championship in 1964 and reached the title game the following season, losing to the Green Bay Packers. The team subsequently reached the playoffs three times in the late 1980s, but fell short of playing in the Super Bowl, the inter-league championship game between the NFL and the rival American Football League (AFL) that started in 1966.
When the AFL and NFL merged before the 1970 season, Cleveland became part of the new American Football Conference (AFC). While the Browns made it back to the playoffs in 1971 and 1972, they fell into mediocrity through the mid-1970s. A revival of sorts took place in 1979 and 1980, when quarterback Brian Sipe engineered a series of last-minute wins and the Browns came to be called the "Kardiac Kids". Under Sipe, however, the Browns did not make it past the first round of the playoffs. Quarterback Bernie Kosar, who the Browns drafted in 1985, led the team to three AFC Championship games in the late 1980s but lost each time. In 1995, Modell announced he was relocating the Browns to Baltimore, sowing a mix of outrage and bitterness among Cleveland's dedicated fan base. Negotiations and legal battles led to an agreement where Modell was allowed to move the team, but Cleveland kept the Browns' name, colors and history. After three years of suspension while the old municipal stadium was demolished and Cleveland Browns Stadium took its place, the Browns started play again in 1999 under new owner Al Lerner. Since resuming operations, the Browns have made the playoffs only once, as a wild-card team in 2002.
The Browns are only one of 12 NFL franchises to predate the 1960 launch of the American Football League, and are only one of three such teams in the AFC .List of Cleveland Browns seasons
The Cleveland Browns were a charter member club of the All-America Football Conference (AAFC) when the league was founded in 1946. From 1946 to 1949, the Browns won each of the league’s four championships. The National Football League (NFL) does not recognize the Browns’ AAFC championships, the Pro Football Hall of Fame does recognize the team’s championships, which is reflected in this list. When the AAFC folded in 1949, the Browns were absorbed into the NFL in 1950. The Browns went on to win three NFL championships, nearly dominating the NFL in the 1950s, and won one more NFL championship in 1964. The team has yet to appear in a Super Bowl, however. Overall, the team has won eight championships: four in the AAFC, and four in the NFL.
In 1995, then-Browns owner Art Modell made the decision to move the team from Cleveland, Ohio to Baltimore, Maryland. An agreement between the city of Cleveland and the NFL kept the team’s history, name and colors in Cleveland, while Modell’s new team would be regarded as an expansion team. The Baltimore Ravens would begin play in 1996, and the Browns would return to the league in 1999. For record-keeping purposes, the Browns are considered to have suspended operations from 1996 to 1998, which is reflected in this list. In 2017, the Cleveland Browns became the second team in NFL history to suffer an 0–16 record.Mike Davis (defensive back)
Michael Leonard Davis is a retired American football safety.Miracle at the Met
The Miracle at the Met refers to the Minnesota Vikings' comeback win over the Cleveland Browns in Week 15 of the 1980 NFL season. The Vikings trailed 23–9 in the fourth quarter, but won after Vikings quarterback Tommy Kramer passed for two touchdowns to wide receiver Ahmad Rashad in the last two minutes, including a 46-yard Hail Mary pass caught with one hand on the last play of the game. The final play is also known as the "Miracle Catch." The Vikings won, 28–23.Ricky's Sports Theatre and Grill
Ricky's Sports Theatre and Grill is an Oakland Raiders themed sports bar located in San Leandro, California.Ricky's opened in 1946 as a steakhouse and has since become famous for being rated the number two best sports bar in America according to Sports Illustrated and the number twelve best sports bar in America according to CNN.In July 2018, Raiders head coach Jon Gruden held a fan appreciation event at Ricky's that was attended by over 500 fans and featured Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie, Raiders team owner Mark Davis and several Raiders legends.Sam Rutigliano
Sam William Rutigliano (born July 1, 1933) is a former NFL and college football coach and current television football analyst for WEWS, the ABC affiliate in Cleveland.The Drive
The Drive was an offensive series in the fourth quarter of the 1986 AFC Championship Game played on January 11, 1987, at Cleveland Municipal Stadium between the Denver Broncos and Cleveland Browns. Broncos quarterback John Elway, in a span of 5 minutes and 2 seconds, led his team 98 yards in 15 plays to tie the game with 37 seconds left in regulation. Denver won the game in overtime making a 38-yard field goal, the Broncos pulled off a 23–20 win over the Cleveland Browns.
The 98-yard drive ranks as pro football's prototypical clutch performance. Elway and his team spanned almost all of the 100-yard football field. According to an article by Sports Illustrated columnist and Colorado resident Rick Reilly, when Elway started the drive, Broncos offensive guard Keith Bishop said of the Browns, "We got 'em right where we want 'em!" Cleveland could not force a fourth down against Denver.The Shot
The Shot is the series-winning basket hit by Michael Jordan in Game 5 of the 1989 Eastern Conference First Round on May 7 against the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Richfield Coliseum. It is considered to be one of Jordan's greatest clutch moments, and in the game itself, a classic. The Cavaliers swept the regular season games against the Bulls 6–0, including a 90–84 victory in the final regular season game, in which they rested their four best players (Ron Harper, Mark Price, Brad Daugherty and Larry Nance).
Cleveland was the 3rd seed in the Eastern Conference and Chicago was the 6th. Cleveland had a 57–25 regular season record, tied with the Los Angeles Lakers for the second-best record in the league behind the Detroit Pistons. Chicago's regular season record that year was 47–35, which although it placed them fifth in their division, was good enough for the sixth playoff seed in the conference. Given both these factors, the Bulls' playoff victory was considered a major upset. In retrospect, it symbolized the beginning of a dynasty of Michael Jordan's Bulls. It was the first of many game-winning shots that Jordan made in his playoff career. In Game 4 of the 1993 Eastern Conference Semifinals, Jordan made another series-winning buzzer-beater on the same end of the court in the same building, to give the Bulls their 4th playoff series win over the Cavaliers, that time a 4-game sweep.
The Shot is one of many dramatic sports moments to come at a Cleveland team's expense—Red Right 88, The Catch, Off Nagy's Glove, The Drive, The Fumble, The Decision, The Move, and the Curse of Rocky Colavito.Tuck Rule Game
The 2001 AFC Divisional Playoff game between the New England Patriots and the Oakland Raiders, also known as the Snow Bowl and the Tuck Rule Game, took place on January 19, 2002, at Foxboro Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts, the former home stadium of the Patriots. This was also the final game ever played at Foxboro Stadium, and was played under a heavy snowfall. The Patriots moved to Gillette Stadium the following season. To Raiders fans it is known as The New England Snow Job.The name Tuck Rule Game originates from the controversial game-changing play. In the play, Raiders' cornerback Charles Woodson sacked Patriots' quarterback Tom Brady, which initially appeared to cause a fumble eventually recovered by Raiders' linebacker Greg Biekert. If it was a fumble, it would have almost certainly sealed the game for Oakland. Officials reviewed the play, and eventually determined that even though Brady had seemingly halted his passing motion and was attempting to "tuck" the ball back into his body, it was an incomplete pass and not a fumble under the then-effective NFL rules. As a result, the original call was overturned, and the ball was given back to the Patriots, who subsequently moved the ball into field goal range.
With under a minute remaining in regulation, Patriots' placekicker Adam Vinatieri kicked a 45-yard field goal to tie the game at 13, which sent the game into overtime. In the subsequent overtime, Vinatieri kicked a 23-yard field goal to win the game for the Patriots. New England went on to win Super Bowl XXXVI, beginning a run of championships with Brady and head coach Bill Belichick, appearing in nine and winning six to date.
|Wild card berths (6)|
|Division championships (15)|
|Conference championships (4)|
|League championships (4)|
|Current league affiliations|
|Former league affiliation|
Championship seasons in bold
|Culture and lore|
|Playoff appearances (28)|
|Division championships (12)|
|Conference championships (11)|
|League championships (8)|
|Hall of Fame inductees|
|Current league affiliations|
|Former league affiliation|
Championship seasons in bold
Website: NBC Sports - NFL News